Julian Savea

Barbarian Julian Savea enjoying his rugby more than ever

The 27-year-old has only appeared once for the world champions in 2017, the 15-15 third Test draw at Eden Park.

Surpassed by the likes of Rieko Ioane, Matt Duffie and Waisake Naholo in the left-wing pecking order, Savea has spent the entire second half of the season confined to the Mitre 10 Cup with the Wellington Lions.

Playing a big part in the capitals championship winning performance, Savea said the break from international rugby has rejuvenated him.

"The whole team played well," he told reporters in London.

Savea named Lions captain

The right wing will lead the Lions for the first time, when they meet the mighty Canterbury at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Wellington wing Stu Wilson once captained the All Blacks on a tour to Britain, but typically skippers are found nearer to the action.

But with No.8, and regular captain, Brad Shields out with a knee injury, Lions coach Chris Gibbes has turned to the team's elder statesmen. The 27-year-old Savea's only played 26 games for Wellington, since his debut in 2010, but he's a man that all the players look up to.

Savea staying with Canes

Savea, 27, was dumped from Steve Hansen's All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship after a less than impressive series against the British and Irish Lions. He was also benched by the Hurricanes for their Super Rugby semifinal against the Lions in Johannesburg - the second straight year he was demoted at the business end of the competition.

Julian Savea gets a spell

Lions coach Chris Gibbes has made six changes to the starting team which beat Taranaki 42-26 on Saturday, for Thursday night's clash with Bay of Plenty in Rotorua. Wellington have three games in a short space of time, so managing resources is critical.

Beyond the changes to the starting side, there's four more in the reserves, including the selection of Filipo. The Petone outside back was sentenced to nine months' supervision for assaulting four people, including two women, in November last year and ordered to attend alcohol counselling and a course on living without violence.

Hansen says Savea and Todd will be back

Fifty four test veteran Savea has been dropped by the selectors from the 33-man squad unveiled for the Rugby Championship series which begins with next week's Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Sydney.

Savea, the scorer of 46 test tries, has struggled this year, facing the Lions in the third Test only.

He lacked zip with the Hurricanes and was named on the bench for their Super Rugby semi-final loss to South Africa's Lions.

Coles back, Savea out for Hurricanes

All Blacks hooker Coles will make his first start in more than four months in what will be his 100th game for the Hurricanes when he leads them on to Ellis Park to face the Lions on Sunday morning.

Having finally shaken off the concussion symptoms that ruled him out of the Test series against the British and Irish Lions, Coles returned off the bench against the Brumbies in Canberra last week.

He impressed in the 35-16 quarter-final win and pushes Ricky Riccitelli to the bench, while reclaiming the captain's armband from TJ Perenara.

Savea shuffle nudges CJ out

These are serious players. World Cup winners and veterans of more than 100 games each for the Hurricanes.

That Boyd felt compelled to drop Savea to the bench and exclude Jane from the 23 to play at Ellis Park on Saturday (Sunday morning NZ Time), speaks volumes for how much he must rate Goosen. 

"Wes is fast, he's probably the quickest guy we've got over short-ish periods. He's strong, he's got a massive workrate and he's just been accurate, so everything we've asked him to do he's done for us," Boyd said from Johannesburg.

Savea to start for Canes

Savea, along with Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fifita will start for the Hurricanes in the final midweek fixture of the tour.

Loose forward Brad Shields will captain the Hurricanes.

Savea has been named on the left wing where he has started 12 of the Hurricanes 14 matches in 2017, while Barrett will wear the No.15 jersey for the 12th time in his first season of Investec Super Rugby.

Laumape will take his place at second five where he has scored 14 tries and combine centre Vince Aso, who has also scored 14 tries - a single season Hurricanes record.

Julian Savea to play 100th game for Hurricanes

Savea returns to the left wing in place of Ben Lam as one of six changes to the team that beat the Western Force 34-12 in Perth last weekend.

He will become the 10th player to reach 100 matches for the Hurricanes, joining Tana Umaga, Rodney So'oialo, Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata, Jeremy Thrush, Ma'a Nonu, Victor Vito, Conrad Smith and Cory Jane.

26 year old Savea made his Hurricanes debut against the Highlanders in 2009 and has been a fixture on the wing ever since.

Savea in last chance saloon?

The down on confidence and out of from wing has been benched for the Hurricanes last two playoff wins though he has retained his place in the All Blacks' squad.

Nehe Milner-Skudder is a shoe-in for selection when he returns from injury, while Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Israel Dagg are the current first choice back three.

Hart said the Rugby Championship will be Julian Savea's last chance to prove he belongs in the team.